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Identify your default setting

When you know how you relate to others, you can catch yourself when it’s not serving you

Your attachment profile:


ANXIOUS TYPES AREtuned into others’ emotions and hypervigilant for signs of disapproval. MRI studies on the brains of anxious types have shown that the areas related to loss are easily activated and those for calming down emotions are underactivated, which is why you can feel as if your emotions hijack you.* There may also be a genetic connection - anxious types have a specific pattern of dopamine receptor DRD2 allele. How it influences attachment is still unclear, but we know genes influence areas of the brain linked with feelings of both bonding and reward.**

Anxious types may have experienced inconsistent messages from caregivers growing up, so feel as if love and acceptance can be taken away at any moment. Good parents can create anxious children if they are dealing with severe stress, grief, trauma, depression or isolation which depletes their capacity to give consistent attention. Children of divorce can develop an anxious attachment style if they feel responsible for driving away one of their parents. Secure types can become anxious if they suffer emotional abuse that undermines their self-belief.

Your loved one gets a lot of your attention because being close to people makes you feel good, but fear and anxiety are triggered when you feel your loved one pull away, and you can sabotage relationships with your insecurity, constant need for reassurance and jealousy.

Strengths: You need close relationships to feel safe so you put in a lot of effort. You probably have a core group of close friends and you make them feel needed and valued. In romance, you have the capacity for great intimacy and closeness and can create a special relationship with the right person.

Weaknesses: You can drive people away with your insecurity. Relationships consume a lot of your energy, sometimes to the detriment of other areas of your life. Your imagination can go into overdrive, obsessing about whether your partner wants to be with you. You may personalise others’ behaviour as being deliberately hurtful, and can find it hard to move on from relationships that are not right for you.

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